A USB microphone for vocals used to be laughed at by many musicians and recording snobs up until a few years ago (some are still elitist and scoff at the idea, but not us). With the quality of these gadgets slowly increasing over time and audio interfaces and DAW getting better at fine-tuning our recordings, we can now say that (some) USB microphones will work well with home recording studios. That’s why today we wanted to give you all our picks as the best USB microphones for vocals. Let’s see what you need to look out for first.
Choosing your USB vocal microphone
- Your budget – Most USB microphones worth looking at, specifically for vocals, aren’t going to be under $50 or even under $100. When it comes to our recommendations and a USB mic that will actually be able to compete with the standard condenser microphones that are usually seen in recording studios and used as the norm for mics for vocals, we don’t recommend cutting corners. Therefore there are only a handful of USB mics we’ll recommend to our readers, but it won’t necessarily be super cheap.
- Do not get a microphone that is below 24-bit / 96 kHz! A lot of USB mics do go lower so double check. Higher than 96 kHz is always a plus but you’re fine with staying at this. The bit-rate however is what’s most important — 16-bit is old! Once you get can into the 24-bit realm, it then gets into recording with what audio interface (and the quality that it can support) as well as post-production and proper recording techniques. We only have four recommendations in here because of this rule we’ve created. Usually with USB mics you can get away with most models, but if you’re really serious about vocal recording, we again reiterate nothing below 24-bit and 96 kHz audio resolution.
- Software bundles? Gear brands nowadays are starting a trend where they include a ton of software (like with USB microphones, vocal FX, EQ and other types of plugins). We’re a bit skeptical on this. For one, we know many don’t care for a huge bundle that hikes the price up $100 more bucks. At the same time, if you’re just starting out, or perhaps need to beef up your repertoire, this will benefit you. Keep this in mind as you look at what each mic offers, because nowadays a lot of them have the same type of audio resolution or other features like gain control or on-board monitoring and the difference comes down to software.
The best USB microphones for vocals
Apogee MiC PLUS
There’s a few reasons we have the MiC Plus listed first as the best USB microphone vocals — sound and recording quality as well as versatility. Regarding recording resolution, we have our standard 24-bit / 96 kHz with their ‘PureDIGITAL’ connection. The condenser inside is cardioid so it will be picking up the source in front of it and rejecting the sides.
You also have an output with ‘Blend’ feature to give you monitoring and recording without any lag. Lastly it comes with a tripod and mic stand mount, and is compatible also with smart devices in case you have a mobile studio. It’s a great option for not only recording vocals but also podcasting and streaming and recording instruments if you do that as well. We love the Apogee MiC Plus and recommend it in many of our guides.
Blue Yeti Pro
Up next is a must-add in really any type of USB microphone guide, but in particular when it comes to vocals we have heard of many musicians using this popular model by Blue. There are also some controls on the mic’s unit itself, such as the pattern selection, mute, mic gain and headphone volume. It provides three different types of pickup patterns, although for vocal recording we recommend sticking with their cardioid choice. It also gives you the option to use a traditional XLR input in case you want to use a mic preamp or audio interface. There’s a mountable mic stand on it, but you can also use the desktop stand that comes in the box as well.
There is indeed the original ‘Yeti ‘, but it only provides 16-bit / 48 kHz, where as this Pro gives us a whopping 24-bit / 192 kHz. We don’t recommend going with the original Yeti since that audio quality in our opinion is not good enough. The Yeti Pro if your cash allows is definitely one of the best USB microphones for recording vocals.
Samson G-Track Pro
When Samson came out with this we were excited because many of their USB mics have stood the test for time. However we weren’t sure how they’d compete with others in the higher-end region since they have a lot of models we recommend in budget-friendly guides. The G-Track Pro (in our review linked there) with user reviews backing it up now has a place in line when it comes to the heavy hitters.
First and foremost, we have an audio resolution of 24-bit / 96 kHz with plug-and-play connectivity to Mac or Windows. The mic itself measures at 25mm (dual 1″) condenser capsule for a great pickup, and it also has a nifty 1/4″ instrument input in case you need to record anything else alongside your vocals. On the unit itself, some great onboard control. There’s a polar pattern switch (yes, three again here just like the Yeti but we also recommend sticking to cardioid), recording select switch, mic volume, master mute, headphone volume, and instrument volume.
A lot of versatility here and the option to use it as an interface for recording instruments is big, considering not many others out there can do that. If you were going to try recording instruments you would need a separate piece of gear to transport the guitar or keyboard into the computer itself, but this allows you to do that with just the mic instead of spending money on a preamp or audio interface. So that by itself may steer you to this. The Samson G-Track Pro is a great option as the best USB microphone for vocals.
Beyerdynamic Fox USB
Relatively new to the scene, albeit by a brand that has been around for decades, the Fox USB expresses to us that the bar will continue to remain high as we continue to make these types of mics worthy of being in the talks of actually recording vocals with.
It has our recommended, and in our opinion standard, specs and features — 24-bit / 96 kHz resolution, large diaphragm condenser capsule, headphone output for monitoring without latency, a gain switch on the mic itself if you need to beef up your signal, on board controls for volume and a big mute button right at the top, as well as an included desk stand, USB cable and wind shield in the box itself. The Beyerdynamic Fox USB is our last pick but certainly not the least. If you made it this far in our guide, it most likely will be your choice as the best USB microphone for vocals. It’s one of the more price-friendly USB vocal mics in this guide.